Rid­ing pro­gram en­rich­ing lives

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

For the vol­un­teers be­hind a grass­roots dis­abil­ity pro­gram in Hor­sham, every week is a chance to en­rich the lives of oth­ers.

Hor­sham Rid­ing for the Dis­abled, RDA, at River­side Re­cre­ation Re­serve Com­plex, has been serv­ing the Wim­mera for nearly 40 years.

The pro­gram pro­vides peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties an op­por­tu­nity to de­velop skills in path­ways in­clud­ing horse rid­ing, car­riage driv­ing and vault­ing, ex­pe­ri­ence a sense of achieve­ment and im­prove their qual­ity of life.

Hor­sham RDA car­riage driver, rider and life mem­ber Geoff Ham­mond has been part of the or­gan­i­sa­tion since its in­cep­tion in 1981.

Known fondly at the re­gional cen­tre for bring­ing ‘a big bag of car­rots’ for the horses each week, pres­i­dent Ali­son Sil­cock said he was one of more than 40 clients the ser­vice as­sists.

“We have quite a lot of clients from pri­mary-school age through to ma­ture age,” she said.

“RDA is of­ten the one thing they have to look for­ward to all week.”

While the pro­gram is cen­tred on as­sist­ing chil­dren and adults with spe­cial needs, it is also an en­rich­ing process for its vol­un­teers.

The group re­cently hosted its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing, where RDA Aus­tralia chair Jan Croser pre­sented Hor­sham vol­un­teers with ser­vice award badges.

Ann Grills and Mar­garet Howard re­ceived 25-year ser­vice badges, and Tom Grills re­ceived his 20year badge.

Mrs Grills said she had re­mained a vol­un­teer for so long be­cause she could see the joy RDA brought to all its riders.

“The vol­un­teers all re­ally en­joy be­ing in­volved,” she said.

“I would en­cour­age other peo­ple to vol­un­teer.”

Mrs Sil­cock said the cen­tre was al­ways look­ing for new vol­un­teers.

“It’s very re­ward­ing, we’re do­ing some­thing for oth­ers and help­ing oth­ers,” she said.

“We have nearly 40 vol­un­teers, and we cer­tainly need more.

“These pro­grams would not be pos­si­ble with­out all the vol­un­teers who will­ingly give their time to run these ses­sions and care for our horses.

“We pro­vide on-the-job train­ing. Vol­un­teers just need a Work­ing with Chil­dren Check.”

Hor­sham Rid­ing for the Dis­abled op­er­ates every sec­ond Wed­nes­day with a rid­ing rally, and every Fri­day with car­riage driv­ing, as well as al­ter­nat­ing rid­ing and vault­ing ses­sions.

Peo­ple in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing can call Mrs Sil­cock on 0427 882 235.

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